Northern Michigan is known for its beautiful fall splendor. When weather starts to become cooler, smells become fresh, and colors turn from blue and green to red and orange, there is no place more beautiful in fall than Charlevoix. Our County boasts some of the most scenic back road color tours, the freshest apples in the Midwest, and two exciting fall festivals. Pack up the car, bring the kids, and explore what’s waiting for you this fall in Charlevoix!
Circle Lake Charlevoix—Depart Charlevoix on US 31 South to the blinking light junction of M-66. Take a left to Ironton passing Castle Farms. Turn left on Ferry Road and board the Ironton Ferry ($3.00). Continue straight along Ferry Road to Boyne City. Depart Boyne City north on Lake Street passing Young State Park and on to Horton Bay (population 49 and former haunt of young Earnest Hemingway). Continue straight on C-56 (Boyne City Road) to the stop at US 31. Take left for about one mile and then right on Mercer Boulevard, just before the golf course, and continue down to the last street. Take a left to the end and then take another left. You will pass, on the right, the turn into Mount McSauba Park (sand dunes, hiking trails and beach). Continue on to McSauba Road at the ski area, and take a right to the stop sign and then right again to US 31. Continue straight over the Bastille bridge into Downtown Charlevoix. 35 miles and approximately 50 minutes drive time plus possible waits for the bridge and ferry.
Surf & Turf—Rolling hills, picturesque Michigan family farms and the south arm of Lake Charlevoix dominate this tour. Depart Charlevoix along US 31 South to the Ellsworth turn (C-48) in Atwood. Turn left. Continue 5 miles to the stop sign in Ellsworth and turn left on Church and then left again at the next stop, staying on C-48. At the red light in East Jordan turn left on M-66 following the lake shore, passing the Ironton Ferry (immortalized in Ripley's Believe It or Not as having traveled the most nautical miles without going anywhere - 650 feet), and continuing back to US 31. A right takes you back into Charlevoix. 35 miles and approximately 45 minutes drive time.
Hemmingway Back County Tour—Visit the highest point in Hayes Township, as well as the setting for Earnest Hemmingways Nick Adams stories on this tour of Charlevoix's North Country Side. Depart Charlevoix on US 31 North toward the Charlevoix-Boyne City Rd (C-56). Turn left on the Charlevoix-Boyne City Rd, continue for 5 miles and make a left hand turn onto Maple Grove Rd. Follow Maple Grove until you hit a dead end, this is the highest point in Hayes Township. You can see Lake Charlevoix, Lake Michigan, and on clear days the Leelanau Peninsulia! There is a beautiful little nature trail loop that is about 2 miles long. Head back towards the Boyne City-Charlevoix rd and almost immediately turn left down Church rd and then an immediate left down Maple Grove for about 1 mile and then make a right on Stolt rd. about a mile and a half down Stolt rd you will want to turn left on Pincherry. Follow Pincherry until you readh Townline. Turn left on Townline rd and turn left and cross the highway, go straight until you reach a dead end. Walk down the staircase for spectacular views of Lake Michigan. Cross back across the highway on Townline and turn left on Upper Bay Shore rd (first road on your left). Once you reach Horton Bay rd, turn right and follow until you reach the Boyne-City Charlevoix Rd. Turn left and spend some time exploring the Boyhood town of Earnest Hemmingway! From here you can either continue circling Lake Charlevoix or take the Boyne City-Charlevoix road back Northwest the way that you came. 40 miles, 2 hours if you get out and do the hike/explore Horton Bay, 1 hour if you do not.
Drive, What Drive!—Experience a different kind of color tour aboard the Keweenaw Excursions, a cruising boat that will take you out to see the colors from the water! Enjoy seeing beautiful colors, the Charlevoix lighthouse, and going under the Charlevoix draw bridge while kicking back with a glass of wine and listening to a narrated account of the history of our beautiful town. The boat leaves from downtown Charlevoix and takes 2 hour tours.
Nothing beats the taste of some fresh produce, and you can't get much fresher than going to a local farm and picking it yourself! Stop by one of these local farms for fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade pies, petting farms, tractor rides, and gift shops, there's something to please everyone! Photo Courtesy of Always Photographic.
Friske's Orchard & Farm Market—This year round farmers market is a family owned farm that's fun for the whole family. Enjoy their famous doughnuts while petting the farm animals or out on a family hay ride.Located about 10 minutes south of town in Atwood.
Royal Farm—-Royal Farms is a family owned farm and “boutique” like Farm Market that prides themselves on high quality products and personal service. They grow and sell fresh fruits and vegetables, annual & perennail flowers and farm & garden novelties. Their farm market and online store offers a unique variety of cherry products, including their Balaton Cherry Concentrate! They also feature an in house pastry chef that makes all of their pies and pastries from fresh ingredients by hand! Located about 10 minutes south of town in Atwood.
Kiteley Farm—-Kiteley’s is a second generation farm nestled in the rolling hills only about a 5 miles from downtown. They offer the farm experience of picking your own berries whether they be strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries. Children are encouraged to join in on the experience by helping pick their own produce or viewing some of the many farm animals. You can also cut and create your own bouquet of flowers from our large cutting garden. Located about 5 miles from town off of M-66.
Harwood Heritage—There's nothing more delicious than tasting pure Michigan Maple Syrup. The sap from the maple trees surrounding Charlevoix, Michigan's Harwood Lake has been made into maple syrup by the Parsons family since the late 1800's. Call 231.547.2038 to schedule an appointment.
Applefestival—Experience the magic of autumn in Northern Michigan at the Annual Charlevoix Apple Festival & Craft Show. This 3-day event is held yearly to honor local orchards and growers who, in the spirit of the season, line Bridge Street to bring the fall harvest to you.
The festival’s focal point is the apple, proven to be the most popular fruit in North America. Northern Michigan’s cool temperatures are said to produce tastier and more colorful fruit than those grown in warmer climates. More than 30 types of apples will be on hand as well as other fall harvest items such as pumpkins, squash, jam, honey, maple syrup, and cider. Still hungry? Local organizations will warm you up with hot food items such as chili, hot dogs, kielbasa, French fries and more!
Activities include an art & craft show with over 160 booths, face painting, a petting zoo, Twister Joe Northern Michigan's favorite balloon artist and more. So, bundle up and bring the family to our fall harvest bonanza! Join the festivities and show your support for our local agricultural community while celebrating the season in scenic downtown Charlevoix this October. The Harvest is in!